ABU DHABI // Commuters reported congestion in several parts of the city yesterday due to road closures and diversions that have been implemented because of the GCC summit at Emirates Palace.
Heavy traffic was reported around the Marina Mall breakwater, Hamdan Street, the Tourist Club area, Salam Street, Najda Street and Electra Street as drivers were forced to take alternative routes to and from work.
One taxi driver said it took him almost two hours to pick up a customer from the Corniche, take him to the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, at the intersection of the Corniche and Airport Road, and then bring him back to Le Meridien hotel.
"When we saw the traffic on the Corniche, I suggested an alternate route, which the customer agreed to," the driver said. "From Airport Road to Le Meridien hotel alone, it took about 40 minutes. The [meter] reached Dh120."
The driver added that many junctions were congested, citing the Corniche and Airport Road as examples. "The street would be backed up to the traffic light at the intersection, but when the light would turn green, drivers would still try and turn into the road."
The driver added that he saw policemen taking down the licence plate numbers of all those who were blocking the junction.
Another taxi driver said it took 75 minutes to drive from Al Wahda Mall to the Grand Al Mariah cinemas.
"The distance was only 9km and the [meter] reached Dh49," he said, adding that the heavy traffic lasted from 8am until about 3.30pm.
Speakers at the second day of the World Health Care Congress Middle East at the Beach Rotana Hotel were also delayed and had their presentations rescheduled.
Officials reported congestion only during the morning rush, mainly between 8am and 9.30am.
The Abu Dhabi Traffic and Patrols Department announced the closing of several roads for the summit until the end of today: from the Hilton hotel to the Emirates Palace roundabout; from the Hilton to the Baynouna Road junction; and from the InterContinental roundabout to the Emirates Palace roundabout.
Lorries and heavy vehicles, including those bearing traffic permits, are not permitted to drive on any of the following roads between 6am and 5pm today: International Airport Road; Al Khaleej Al Arabi Road (coast road); Sultan bin Zayed Road; and Baynouna Road.
The department urged motorists to take these alternate roads: Sheikh Rashed bin Saeed Road; Al Qurm Corniche Road; Al Muroor Road (Al Dhafra); Al Maqta Bridge; Al Qana Road; Sheikh Zayed Bridge.